Best of Both Worlds

On March 20, MoneySense released its 2013 rankings for the best cities to live in Canada. One year removed from a slew of job cuts to the federal public service, it wasn't good news for the National Capital Region.

After three years on top, Ottawa fell to sixth. Gatineau fell from 30th to 62nd.

CBC and Radio-Canada looked at the cross-river neighbours and compared how they fare in terms of cost of housing, taxes, food and transportation.

Related links:

2013 MoneySense Best Place to Live rankings

Photo Credit: CBC Ottawa


In 2011, Ottawa had a population of 883,391, up 8.8 per cent from 2006. Gatineau had a population of 265,349, up 9.6 per cent from 2006.

This compares to the national average growth of 5.9 per cent.

Related links:

Ottawa population

Gatineau population

Photo Credit: CBC Ottawa

Income taxes

Quebec residents face more taxes each year than those in Ontario.

According to Statistics Canada, Ontario residents face $26,600 in income taxes each year based on an annual income of $100,000. Quebec residents are taxed $31,701.

Related links:

Quebec taxes

Ontario taxes

Photo Credit: CBC Ottawa

Home prices

In Ottawa, the average price of a home sale is $340,000 compared to $250,000 in Gatineau.

Gatineau resident Walter Moreschi is a prime example of someone who has chosen to abandon Ontario for a more affordable Quebec home.

Moreschi, who co-owns Mamma Teresa Ristorante in downtown Ottawa, used to live in Barrhaven, a south Ottawa suburb. But he recently purchased a home in Gatineau with a great view for much less than he would have paid in Ottawa.

Watch Walter explain why he moved his family to Gatineau.

Related links:

Gatineau home price stats

Ottawa home price stats

Photo Credit: CBC Ottawa

Property taxes

While Gatineau residents face higher income tax rates, Ottawa residents pay more for property taxes.

According to numbers from each city hall, Ottawa residents pay about $100 more on a home assessed at $200,000 and $300 more on a home priced at $400,000.

Related links:

Ottawa property taxes

Gatineau property taxes

Cost of food

According to Statistics Canada, the average annual cost to feed a family of four in Ottawa is $7,832, about $400 more than in Gatineau. Dairy products cost more in Quebec, but bakery products and grain products cost more in Ontario. One Ottawa couple with 14-month-old twins chose Ottawa, though.

As they plan to grow their family, watch this video to see why they stayed on the Ontario side.

Photo Credit: CBC Ottawa

Transportation costs

At $87, a monthly bus pass in Gatineau is about $10 cheaper than in Ottawa.

While gas often costs more in Gatineau, driving on the Quebec side can be more affordable.

The average annual cost for auto insurance is $699 in Quebec, compared to $1,374 in Ontario.

Meanwhile, the cost for renewing a licence registration in Gatineau adds up to $273.25. That includes the registration, a contribution to public transit, the vehicle registration fee and the administrative charge. That's almost $200 more than in Ontario.

Related links:

OC Transpo stats

STO stats

Photo Credit: CBC Ottawa